Japan’s TEPCO releases video of Fukushima plant
Tokyo: State-owned Japanese energy company TEPCO has released surveillance videos of the nuclear control centers during the crisis days after the Fukushima disaster.
According to Wall Street Journal, soon after 11 a.m. on March 14, 2011, loudspeakers crackled in the crisis command center of Tokyo Electric Power Co.: " Headquarters headquarters," in the voice of Masao Yoshida, the then manager of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, where one of the world``s worst nuclear accidents was unfolding.
"We have a big problem, we have a big problem. It seems there has been an explosion at Unit 3," Yoshida had said.
Those words were captured in footage taken inside the command centers of Tepco during the Fukushima Daiichi accident, 150 hours of which the company released for the first time.
The footage was recorded over Tepco`s emergency videoconference system, which linked feeds from Tepco`s Tokyo headquarters with those from the company`s three nuclear plants and the government`s crisis-management center in Fukushima.
The videos show faces at a distance around conference tables. Many of the faces are blurred to protect the speakers` privacy.
The footage that Tepco released provides a firsthand look at the confusion and disorganization among company executives, government officials and regulators in the early days after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out power to Fukushima Daiichi.
In one segment, from March 14, Mr. Yoshida at Fukushima Daiichi and Tepco executives at headquarters had a chaotic discussion over the best way to cool the overheating No. 2 reactor, with Mr. Yoshida yelling that the plant was running out of time.
In another segment, also on March 14, Tepco executives discussed when might be the right time to order an evacuation of the plant.
Then-nuclear-operations chief Sakae Muto asked what the company`s accident manual said about evacuation. Another official confessed he didn`t remember.
"Any remarks in the video footage should be looked at in a broader context," a Tepco spokesman said in the news briefing Monday.
The company said in an internal investigation released in June, before the management change, based on the video records as well as extensive interviews, that there were no missteps in dealing with the crisis.
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